The Seahawks stunned the Browns by getting a field goal off a drive that began at the Seattle 27 with 16 seconds left in the half. The Browns knew they were stabbed, just not how.
When the accounts of the Seahawks’ 2015 season are done, the sequence will be little noted nor long remembered. But the final 16 seconds of the first half Sunday in the win over Cleveland exemplified Seattle’s late-season weaponry – not the power of the Seahawks, but the sharpness of the blade.
It was as if Zorro and his sword cut a “Z” in the villain’s shirt without drawing blood.
Ahead 17-10, the Seahawks defense stopped the Browns at their own 29 with 23 seconds left in the half. The punt put Seattle on its on own 27. Time to take a knee and head in for juice boxes, right?
Right, said some decision-makers on the sidelines. Wrong, said others.
“There was a lot of discussion — we were going at it,” Carroll said at his Monday presser. “There’s a reason to take a knee in that situation that a lot of people would think was common.
“Big discussion, differing opinions, which was good.”
Carroll wouldn’t say who said what, but his predilection was clear.
“It’s not wrong there to go conservative and take a knee,” he said. “I never realize the value in that, when you still have a chance to score. (Some say) let’s just wait to score later; (I say) we’ve got to score sooner. We went for it.”
Unsurprisingly, his campaign compatriot was QB Russell Wilson.
“I was trying to push and make sure we went for it,” he said. “Coach was trying too. We had two timeouts; we had a shot. I asked Steve Hauschka — I always try to figure out in these situations how far he can kick it. He said, ’41-yard line.’ I said OK.”
With a puny 16 seconds left to get 32 yards for Hauschka, Wilson first threw quickly for five yards to WR Jermaine Kearse, who went out of bounds. Then he found TE Luke Willson along the same sideline for 11 to the Seattle 43. He too went out of bounds — with two seconds left.
“We set up for a Hail Mary, then they brought everybody,” Wilson said of the Browns blitz. “So I got the ball to Kearse to see what would happen. He’s so good at breaking tackles — you saw him in the Super Bowl, where he broke tackles.
“Sure enough, he breaks some tackles.”
Kearse rambled 39 yards to the Cleveland 18, where Kearse’s face mask was accidentally hooked, after time expired, by CB Tramon Williams.
If that name sounds familiar, he was the cornerback for Green Bay in the NFC Championship 11 months ago that Kearse beat in overtime for a catch in the end zone that beat the Packers and sent Seattle to the Super Bowl.
The Forrest Gump of Seahawks opponents.
After the half-the-distance markoff to the nine-yard line, the Hauschka field goal attempt suddenly would be shorter than the new point-after distance. But the distance was irrelevant to the timing — because no half can end on a defensive penalty, the Seahawks were allowed one untimed play.
Emboldened by the astonishing sequence, Carroll owned up to a visit by dat ol’ debbil, greed.
“The enticing part was to go (for a touchdown) when we were down there,” he said, grinning. “Cooler heads prevailed.”
Hauschka kicked the 27-yarder, the lead improved to 20-10 and the Browns knew they had just been stabbed, but couldn’t find any red on their white jerseys.
“That,” Wilson said, “was big.”
The Seahawks have had splashier plays in the past few weeks, but getting points from a drive that started on the 27 with 16 seconds left pins the needle on the absurdity meter.
RB Marshawn Lynch remains in the Bay Area rehabbing from surgery, Carroll said, and won’t be practicing this week. Fox TV’s Jay Glazer reported before the game Sunday that Lynch was working out with a martial arts trainer, Tareq Azim, a former San Jose State linebacker who has helped Lynch for several years. Glazer said the hope was to get Lynch back for the regular-season finale Jan. 3. But Carroll said he had no knowledge of a timetable . . . SS Kam Chancellor, who was inactive for Sunday’s game with a bruised tailbone, “was much better” Monday, Carroll said, but had to see how he practiced . . . The strained calf by LT Russell Okung that kept him out for part of the second half did not appear to be serious, but Carroll wouldn’t forecast if he’ll make the Sunday game against the Rams.